Source 5b

This report shows Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s surprise appearance in London in January 1972 after being imprisoned by West Pakistan during the war.


WEU Council Meeting notes, 12 January 1972. Catalogue ref: FCO 37/1019






1. The most significant recent event was President Bhutto’s decision to release Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who arrived unexpectedly in London in a special Pakistani aircraft early in the morning of 8 January. Mujib [Mujibur] had asked, after his release, either to be sent to Dacca, or to be handed over to the Red Cross or the United Nations, but these suggestions were acceptable to the Pakistan Government. Mujib in turn refused a Pakistani suggestion that he should go to Tehran [in Iran] and when offered any other destination he chose to come to London.

2. Mujib seems to have borne up well to the rigours of imprisonment [ put up well with harshness of prison] the but he was still very tired and disoriented. [confused]


However, although he spoke with bitterness of the actions of the Pakistani Army, he showed no rancour [bitterness] towards Bhutto and said he wished to establish good relations with Pakistan. Relations with India would, of course, be much closer. The partition should be, in his words, “a parting of brothers”. But first, he said, Bhutto must acknowledge [accept] that the division of Pakistan was a reality.


5. It is clear particularly since the return of Sheikh Mujib to Dacca, that an independent Bangladesh now exists, and that the Bangladesh Government commands the obedience of the majority of the population. Furthermore the decision to release the Shiekh indicates that the Pakistan Government is beginning to reconcile [accept] itself to the loss of East Pakistan. The question of recognition is therefore likely to arise in the near future.


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